The world of technology has made it easier for people to get in touch with their modern muses regardless of the genres that they are trying to utilize and even if they create a new genre based on a mixing of others. The potential for modern-day muses is as vast as individual creativity.
Uncertainty is a temptress. We may try our best to avoid her. But what is certain is that at some point of time, she will find us. The only question that remains is whether like Medusa, she will paralyze you, or whether like one of the nine muses of ancient Greece, she will drive you to greater things.
There is however, one reason why the arts so rarely accept a mission that IS within the power of the Church to alter. In the past, the densest or richest location of baptised art has been the Liturgy. The sacred use of the arts in the liturgical setting has provided inspiration for artists engaged in producing artworks for contexts outside the Liturgy, for consumption beyond the limits of the visible Church. In the modern West, the Muses have largely fled the liturgical amphitheatre, which instead is given over to banal language, poor quality popular music, and, in new and re-designed churches, a nugatory or sometimes totally absent visual art. This deprives the wider Christian mission of the arts of essential nourishment. Where would the poetry of Paul Claudel be without the Latin Liturgy? Or John Tavener's music without the Orthodox Liturgy? Where would be the entire tradition of representational art in the West without the liturgical art of which until the seventeenth century at least remained at its heart? We need today to summon back the Muses to the sacred foyer of the Church, to be at home again at that hearth.
Aidan Nichols O.P.
My mother took my brother and I to a production of 'The Tempest', and it was in this very small - it could have been the basement of a church or a black box. The space was vast, but there were maybe 15 seats in the middle. Ariel came out wearing a nude sparkly thong and spike heels, and the muses had these gossamer see-through gowns on.
I am coming from an older school, and I feel that you must learn to wait. There is that essay which was about the great notion of sitting on the mountain and waiting for the muses to cross the stream, and give you the symbols that would allow you to create. The word wait seems to me to be terribly important.
There are, it seems, two muses: The Muse of Inspiration, who gives us inarticulate visions and desires, and the Muse of Realization, who returns again and again to say, 'It is yet more difficult than you thought.' It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work and when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey.
People think of me as a stereotype: muse, privileged, decorative. Classically, the muses were the inspiration. They'd come and go - they wouldn't actually make things, get their hands dirty. I don't think I'm a muse, although I think I can help pull a trigger. I really like getting my hands dirty.
I could not but smile to think in what out-of-the-way corners genius produces her bantlings! And the Muses, those capricious dames, who, forsooth, so often refuse to visit palaces, and deny a single smile to votaries in splendid studies, and gilded drawing-rooms--what holes and burrows will they frequent to lavish their favors on some ragged disciple!
Be not so set upon poetry, as to be always poring on the passionate and measured pages. Let not what should be sauce, rather than food for you, engross all your application. Beware of a boundless and sickly appetite for the reading of poems which the nation now swarms withal; and let not the Circaen cup intoxicate you. But especially preserve the chastity of your soul from the dangers you may incur, by a conversation with muses no better than harlots.
We live in an age of science and of abundance. The care and reverence for books as such, proper to an age when no book was duplicated until someone took the pains to copy it out by hand, is obviously no longer suited to 'the needs of society', or to the conservation of learning. The weeder is supremely needed if the Garden of the Muses is to persist as a garden.
I who once wrote songs with keen delight am now by sorrow driven to take up melancholy measures. Wounded Muses tell me what I must write, and elegiac verses bathe my face with real tears. Not even terror could drive from me these faithful companions of my long journey. Poetry, which was once the glory of my happy and flourishing youth, is still my comfort in this misery of my old age.
Where the heart is, there the muses, there the gods sojourn, and not in any geography of fame. Massachusetts, Connecticut River, and Boston Bay, you think paltry places, and the ear loves names of foreign and classic topography. But here we are; and, if we tarry a little, we may come to learn that here is best. See to it, only, that thyself is here;--and art and nature, hope and fate, friends, angels, and the Supreme Being, shall not absent from the chamber where thou sittest.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
There is also a third kind of madness, which is possession by the Muses, enters into a delicate and virgin soul, and there inspiring frenzy, awakens lyric... But he, who, not being inspired and having no touch of madness in his soul, comes to the door and thinks he will get into the temple by the help of art-he, I say, and his poetry are not admitted; the sane man is nowhere at all when he enters into rivalry with the madman.
There was a rocky valley between Buxton and Bakewell?divine as the vale of Tempe; you might have seen the gods there morning and eveningApollo and the sweet Muses of the Light? You enterprised a railroad?you blasted its rocks away? And, now, every fool in Buxton can be at Bakewell in half-an-hour, and every fool in Bakewell at Buxton.
Muses are fickle, and many a writer, peering into the voice, has escaped paralysis by ascribing the creative responsibility to a talisman: a lucky charm, a brand of paper, but most often a writing instrument. Am I writing well? Thank my pen. Am I writing badly? Don't blame me blame my pen. By such displacements does the fearful imagination defend itself.
But there are spirits of a yet more liberal culture, to whom no simplicity is barren. There are not only stately pines, but fragile flowers, like the orchises, commonly described as too delicate for cultivation, which derive their nutriment from the crudest mass of peat. These remind us, that, not only for strength, but for beauty, the poet must, from time to time, travel the logger's path and the Indian's trail, to drink at some new and more bracing fountain of the Muses, far in the recesses of the wilderness.
Henry David Thoreau
The delicate muses lose their head if their attention is once diverted. Perhaps if you were successful abroad in talking and dealing with men, you would not come back to your bookshelf and your task. When the spirit chooses you for its scribe to publish some commandment, it makes you odious to men and men odious to you, and you shall accept that loathsomeness with joy. The moth must fly to the lamp, and you must solve those questions though you die.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Wine give strenght to weary men. and And wine can of their wits the wise beguile. Make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. and Let those who drink not, but austerely dine, Dry up in law; the muses smell of wine. and No poem was ever written by a drinker of water. and Bacchus opens the gate of the heart. and Might to inspire new hopes and powerful To drown the bitterness of cares.
As a general rule, those who are dissatisfied with themselves will seek to go out of themselves into an ideal world. Persons in strong health and spirits, who take plenty of air and exercise, who are "in favor with, their stars," and have a thorough relish of the good things of this life, seldom devote themselves in despair to religion or the muses. Sedentary, nervous, hypochondriacal people, on the contrary, are forced, for want of an appetite for the real and substantial, to look out for a more airy food and speculative comforts.
For the poets tell us, don't they, that the melodies they bring us are gathered from rills that run with honey, out of glens and gardens of the Muses, and they bring them as bees do honey, flying like the bees? And what they say is true, for a poet is a light and winged thing, and holy, and never able to compose until he has become inspired, and is beside himself, and reason is no longer in him. So long as he has this in his possession, no man is able to make poetry or to chant in prophecy.
Once, in his first term, Cartwright had been bold enough to ask him why he was clever, what exercises he did to keep his brain fit. Healey had laughed. "It's memory, Cartwright, old dear. Memory, the mother of the Muses... at least that's what thingummy said." "Who?" "You know, what's his name, Greek poet chap. Wrote the Theogony... what was he called? Begins with an 'H'." "Homer?" "No, dear. Not Homer, the other one. No, it's gone. Anyway. Memory, that's the key.
O you, who in some pretty boat, Eager to listen, have been following Behind my ship, that singing sails along Turn back to look again upon your own shores; Tempt not the deep, lest unawares, In losing me, you yourselves might be lost. The sea I sail has never yet been passed; Minerva breathes, and pilots me Apollo, And Muses nine point out to me the Bears. You other few who have neck uplifted Betimes to the bread of angels upon Which one lives and does not grow sated, Well may you launch your vessel Upon the deep sea.
Writing is a futile attempt to preserve what disappears moment by moment. All that remains of my mother is what I remember and what I have written for and about her. Eventually that is all that will remain of [my husband] and me. Writing sometimes feels frivolous and sometimes sacred, but memory is one of my strongest muses. I serve her with my words. So long as people read, those we love survive however evanescently. As do we writers, saying with our life's work, Remember. Remember us. Remember me.
There are, it seems, two muses: the Muse of Inspiration, who gives us inarticulate visions and desires, and the Muse of Realization, who returns again and again to say "It is yet more difficult than you thought." This is the muse of form. It may be then that form serves us best when it works as an obstruction, to baffle us and deflect our intended course. It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work and when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.
Cities at night, I feel, contain men who cry in their sleep and then say Nothing. It's nothing. Just sad dreams. Or something like that...Swing low in your weep ship, with your tear scans and sob probes, and you would mark them. Women--and they can be wives, lovers, gaunt muses, fat nurses, obsessions, devourers, exes, nemeses--will wake and turn to these men and ask, with female need-to-know, "What is it?" And the men will say, "Nothing. No it isn't anything really. Just sad dreams.
Becoming drunk is a journey that generally elates him in the early stages-he's good company, expansive, mischievous and fun, the famous old poet, almost as happy listening as talking. But once the destination is met, once established up there on that unsunny plateau, a fully qualified drunk, the nastier muses, the goblins of aggression, paranoia, self-pity take control. The expectation now is that an evening with John will go bad somehow, unless everyone around is prepared to toil at humouring and flattering and hours of frozen-faced listening. No one will be.
She wrote poetry constantly; that was her "work". She was a slow bleeder and she slaved over it for long, exhausting hours, and many a middle of a night I could hear her creaking around the dead house with a pen in one hand, a clipboard and a flashlight in the other, refining her poems, jotting down the lines of a conceit. Writing never came easy for her; it gave her calluses. She never courted the muses, she wrestled them, mauled them all over the house and came up, after weeks of peripatetic labor, with a slim Spencerian sonnet, fourteen lines of imagistic jabberwocky.
Last night I danced. My body rose from its slump for the first time since the beginning of sorrows-my fingers beckoning to the stars at arm's length, back arching as tingles bubbled up my spine, hips caught in a silent tempo while on tiptoe I twirled in endless euphoric circles. It didn't matter that you loved me or that you didn't. For I was wanted by the gods last night; their seraphs and muses descending on moonbeams into my midst, caressing my face and gliding their spirited arms about my waist, lifting my toes from the soil that I might feel what it is to fly without heaviness of heart. I danced with them under the glow of a loyal moon. For one brief, visceral dance I joyed as Heaven joys-in endless bliss. And the universe cherished me.
Richelle E. Goodrich
I do not consider myself a religious person, because I don't adhere to a particular religion or faith or prescribed beliefs, as did my father, who was a Baptist minister. And I am not an atheist, one who thinks that belief in anything beyond the here and now and the rational is delusion. I love science, but I allow for mystery, things that can never be proven by a rational mind. I am a person who thinks about the nature of the spirit when I write. I think about what can't be known and only imagined. I often sense a spirit or force or meaning beyond myself. I leave it open as to what the spirit is, but I continue to make guesses - that it could be the universal binding of the emotion of love, or a joyful quality of humanity, or a collective unconscious that turns out to be a unified conscience. The spirit could be all those worshiped by all the religions, even those that deny the validity of others. It could be that we all exist in all ten dimensions of a string-theory universe and are seeding memories in all of them and occupy them simultaneously as memory. Or we exist only as thought and out perception that it is a physical world is a delusion. The nature of spirit could also be my mother and my grandmother and that they really do serve as my muses as I fondly imagine them doing at times. Or maybe the nature of the spirit is a freer imagination. I've often thought that imagination was the conduit to compassion, and compassion is a true spiritual nature. Whatever the spirit might be, I am not basing what I do in this life on any expected reward or punishment in the hereafter or thereafter. It is enough that I feel blessed - and by whom or what I don't know - but I receive it with gratitude that I am a writer and my work is to imagine all the possibilities.